tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 13, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST
and we have a lot on the agenda today, including live coverage of the president's remarks at northern virginia community college. he is expected to offer a budget plan, calling for nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, and he's also going to offer short-term stimulus measures aimed at keeping the economy afloat. once again, keep it locked in right here for live coverage of the president's speech coming from virginia. we'll take you there when it starts. this morning, we have few answers and still so many questions two days after the death of legendary singer whitney houston. investigators do say an autopsy has been completed. now, they're piecing together the singer's final hours inside a hotel room in beverly hills. they also confirm whitney houston was seen alive within an hour of when she was found in a bathtub in her room. and as the coroner's office tries to determine compaexactly she died. >> we do not know yet, and when we find out, we will be in contact with beverly hills pd,
but first, we'll also be in contact with the family and give them our findings. >> the sidewalk outside the hotel where she died is now a makeshift memorial filled with flowers, candles and cards bearing whitney's name. a name also spoken in prayer and reference at last night's grammy awards. >> there is no way around this, we've had a death in our family. >> i just want to say to whitney up in heaven, we all love you, whitney houston. >> it was certainly an emotional night for music's biggest night there at the grammys. nbc correspondent jeff rossen joins me now with the very latest on the investigation from los angeles. jeff? >> reporter: hey, thomas. here at the l.a. county coroner's office, we have news about the autopsy of whitney houston's body. it is now complete, but they will not release the official cause of death yet, awaiting the toxicology report. and it really all comes down to that now, doesn't it? did whitney houston have drugs in her system at the time of her death? and if so, what were they? ♪ and i, ooh
>> reporter: the grammys sunday night weren't supposed to sound like this, a powerful tribute to whitney houston, care of jennifer hudson. ♪ whitney, we love, we love you ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: who knew it would end this way, inside a bathtub at the luxurious beverly hilton. whit wit was reportedly in the bathroom for a while. tmz reports members of her entourage were hanging out on the other side of the door in her fourth-floor suite. one of them finally went in and discovered the singer's body in the bathtub. tmz reports she was under water and unresponsive, but authorities won't comment. >> when our officers arrived in the hotel room on the fourth floor, the fire department and hotel security were already attempting resuscitation measures. >> reporter: tmz reports,
authorities found prescription pill bottles in her room, including the powerful antianxiety drug xanax. it was too late for cpr. the voice was gone. >> there's no visible signs of trauma, and foul play is not suspected at this time. >> reporter: whitney's ex-husband bobby brown got word while performing in mississippi and reacted on stage. >> i just want to say, i love you, whitney. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: and sunday, the couple's only daughter, bobbi kristina, was rushed to the hospital for stress but released hours later. >> y'all put your hands together! >> reporter: some say the warning signs of whitney's deterioration were there just 48 hours before her death. thursday night, her final performance. sounding like a shell of her former self. and outside the club, many say she looked like a shell of her
former self. mismatched clothes with visible scratches and blood running down her leg. >> in my opinion, she seemed like she was under the influence of something, be it drugs or be it alcohol, i don't know, but she certainly seemed not to be all there. >> reporter: kelly carter is a journalist who spent time with the star. you interviewed whitney houston just about four months ago. how did she look? >> she looked great. she was polished, engaging, she was witty, she was funny, and the narrative that she wanted to put out there was very clear, and it was i am back, i am better than ever. >> reporter: but then, you just saw her two days before her death, this past thursday. how did she look then? >> clothing was a little disheveled. she spoke in rapid fire succession, which was a little odd and kind of threw me off a little bit. just was not the whitney that i had just talked to a few months before. ♪ o, say does that star-spangled ♪ >> reporter: whitney had been to rehab three times. so, was this the end of a long battle with addiction, or was it something else? that toxicology report could
take six to eight weeks to come back. we are also getting word today that the medical examiner here in los angeles has now released whitney houston's body so her family can come claim her remains when they'd like. there are unconfirmed reports they may fly her body back to atlanta. we'll keep you posted on that. meanwhile, investigators are questioning all of whitney houston's entourage to figure out what happened in those final hours. thomas? >> nbc's jeff rossen in los angeles, thank you. so, the news of houston's death came hours before a planned pre grammy party at the beverly hilton, hosted by houston's longtime producer clive davis. that party did go on and clive davis took the stage at that party. take a listen. >> whitney would have wanted the music to go on, and her family asked that we carry on. >> among those at the hotel that night was a reporter for "newsweek," who has interviewed whitney houston in the past, and she joins me this morning. alison samuels of "newsweek" and
"the daily beast." alice you, you were at the beverly hilton on saturday. obviously, this is a huge weekend there for the clive davis pre grammy party, a lot of celebrities staying there. what is the scene that you recall the best, the atmosphere as that day was unfolding? >> i guess the atmosphere that i remember the most is just sort of the mayhem of getting ready for clive davis's party and the fact that so many people didn't realize that whitney had died. many people even in the hotel had no clue until the crime van came probably around 4:30. then people began to sort of question and stare out the window and fans started to sort of gather outside of the hotel. but there was a good period of time where people weren't aware that she had passed away and was still actually in the hotel, because they didn't remove her for a very long time. >> allison, you've interviewed whitney houston several times over your career, so tell me about the relationship that you had with her in these interviews in the past. because as i understand it, you have described some of them as disturbing.
>> for the majority of the interviews, we had great interviews. she was, again, as one reporter said, witty and funny and charming and this very generous spirit that you enjoyed talking to and laughing with. the last time i interviewed her at length, though, it was clear that something was wrong, something was a little off. she was slurring her words, wasn't sort of making sense, was incoherent, and this was over the course of two days because i had had dinner with her the night before and then i saw her the next day. and it was amazing sort of how this was, again, not the same woman i had interviewed four or five times over the course of four or five years, how she has sort of changed into this woman that i barely recognized and didn't seem to be able to sort of stop it. we were doing an interview, so i was so surprised that she would come to this interview disheveled and unclear about what we were talking about and just sort of saying anything that sort of came to her mind. and it was really one of the most disturbing interviews i've had with anyone because, you know, usually, celebrities come and they're together and they're intact and they have an image they want to present, but she
clearly was just sort of not able to do that for those days, and that's sort whf i became concerned for what the end result would be for her. >> we have a statement from actress angela bassett, who starred in "waiting to exhale" with whitney and her husband courtney vance. they gave this statement. they say "the landscape is littered with superstars who burned out -- michael jackson, elvis presley, river phoenix, john coltrane, amy winehouse. yes, whitney had life issues. so what? welcome to the world! angela and i prefer to remember people for the good things they did and how they blessed people." but allison, this goes on to beg the question, these are such brilliant people that we're talking about here that are plagued by their personal demons. and so many times, they unfold before our eyes, before cameras, but how many deadly meltdowns do we need to witness as a society to be able to learn how to step in and help them get the support that they need? i'm still struck that whitney, after all these years and being so close to clive davis, didn't
have that structural, foundational support to help her if sobriety was the big problem. >> well, she did have it, and that's the key, and i think that was the key in talking to clarence avant, the former head of motown. he was very clear with whitney the last time he saw her. he said this is on you. you have to take control. you have to take care of yourself. you can't blame anybody else. so, no matter who's around you trying to help you, if you don't have that strength -- and it's very interesting that she didn't, because i always sort of saw her as this very strong woman who could confront anything, but somewhere in her personality, she was not able to sort of stop, you know, this dangerous habit, even though she had this wonderful daughter that she loved so much who we all feel so bad for because she's lost her mother, the woman that she idolized, but whitney for some reason was not able to pull back from this habit. and i don't think you can sort of say that the surroundings had the overall impact. it really was on whitney to sort of step back and say i have to stop this, and i think that's sort of the pain of everyone, that she really wasn't able to
do that. >> allison, what is the family dynamic in the last few years between bobby and bobbi kristina and whitney? >> well, whitney, before bobby and whitney divorced, she had moved to atlanta to be closer to his family. then the divorce happened and it really became just she and bobbi kristina, incredibly close. in many ways, bobbi kristina was not the caregiver, but the person who protected her. because bobby was that for a while, but once the divorce happened, bobbi kristina took over and they had a even stronger bond as a mother and daughter. so again, this is why this is so heartbreaking for bobbi kristina. >> allison samuels of "newsweek" and "the daily beast." you're also the author of the book about the first lady called "what would michelle do?" allison, thank you. i'll speak with shaun robinson of "access hollywood" about her interview that's considered the
singer's last sit-down interview before her untimely death. in other news, as i told you at the top of the hour, president obama moments away from a speech outlining his budget plan for america, a push for short-term spending, major long-term deficit reduction, but a familiar fiscal reality. the president forecasted adding another $1 trillion of debt in 2012 and nearly hitting the trillion-dollar debt number in 2013. so, is this plan dead on arrival? gerald bernstein is a contributor to msnbc and nbc and served as chief economist to joe biden. we're seeing president obama come out now. what is the likelihood this plan is dead on arrival? >> i'm afraid it's pretty high. you already have republicans, the opposition, saying what they really don't like is this plan calls for $1.5 trillion in new revenue. the president well understands we're not going to get on a sustainable path without both cuts and new revenue, but that's very tough for republicans to accept. >> let's listen in and talk on the other side. >> thank you, virginia!
thank you, nova! thank you so much! thank you. thank you very much. everybody who has a chair, please have a seat. i know not everybody has a chair. >> love you! >> i love you back! great to be here. first of all, i want to thank mike for the wonderful introduction. please give mike a big round of applause. it is great to be back here at nova. i've been here so many times, i'm about three credits short of graduation. but you know, there are a couple of reasons that i keep on coming back. first of all, i think that dr. templin and the whole administration here is doing a great job, so i want to give them a big round of applause.
the other reason is because jill biden keeps talking up how great you are. and just as i do what michelle tells me to do, i also do what jill biden tells me to do. in addition, by the way, i just want to acknowledge that we also have our secretary of labor here, hilda solis, who is doing an outstanding job. but the main reason i keep on coming back is i think this institution is an example of what's best about america. some of you may have your eye on a four-year college, some of you may be trying to learn new skills that can lead to a new job, like mike, or a job that pays more, gives you more opportunity.
but all of you are here because you believe in yourselves, you believe in your ability, you believe in the future of this country. and that's something that inspires me, and you guys should take great pride in. now, the truth is, the skills and training you get here will be the best tools you have to achieve the american promise, the promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college and put a little away for retirement. and the defining issue of our time is how to keep this promise alive today, for everybody. because we've got a choice. we can settle for a country where a few people do really, really well, and everybody else struggles to get by, or we can restore an economy where everybody gets a fair shot,
everybody does their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules, from washington to wall street to main street. that's the america we believe in. now, we're still recovering from one of the worst economic crises in three generations. we've got a long way to go before everybody who wants a good job can find one, before middle class americans regain that sense of security that's been slipping away for too long, long before the recession hit. but over the last 23 months, we've added 3.7 million new jobs. american manufacturers are creating jobs for the first time
since the 1990s. the economy is growing stronger. the recovery is speeding up. and the last thing we can afford to do right now is to go back to the very policies that got us into this mess in the first place. we can't afford it! the last thing we need is for washington to stand in the way of america's comeback. now, what does that mean concretely? for starters, congress needs to stop taxes from going up on 160 million americans by the end of this month. and if they don't act, that's exactly what will happen. congress needs to pass an extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance without drama and without delay and without linking it to some other ideological side issues.
we've been through this before, remember? we've seen this movie. we don't need to see it again. the time for self-inflicted wounds to our economy has to be over. now's the time for action. now's the time for all of us to move forward. but preventing a tax hike on the middle class, that's only the beginning. that's just starters. in the state of the union, i outlined a blueprint for an economy that is built to last, an economy built on new manufacturing and new sources of energy and new skills and education for the american people. today we're releasing the details of that blueprint in the form of next year's budget. and don't worry, i will not read it to you. it's long and a lot of numbers.
but the main idea in the budget is this. at a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster clip, we've got to do everything in our power to keep this recovery on track. part of our job is to bring down our deficit. and if congress adopts this budget, then along with the cuts that we've already made, we'll be able to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by the year 2022. $4 trillion. i'm proposing some difficult cuts that, frankly, i wouldn't normally make if they weren't absolutely necessary, but they are. and the truth is, we're going to have to make some tough choices in order to put this country back on a more sustainable fiscal path. by reducing our deficit in the long term, what that allows us to do is to invest in the things that will help grow our economy right now. we can't cut back on those
things that are important for us to grow. we can't just cut our way into growth. we can cut back on the things that we don't need, but we also have to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share for the things that we do need. we need to restore american manufacturing by ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, giving them to companies that are creating jobs right here in the united states of america. that's something that everybody should agree on. we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by ending the subsidies for oil companies and doubling down on clean energy that generates jobs and strengthens our security. and to make sure our businesses don't have to move overseas to find skilled workers, we've got
to invest in places like nova and make sure higher education is affordable for every hard-working american. so, that's what i want to focus on today, what we need to do in terms of higher education. and community colleges in particular. employers today are looking for the most skilled, educated workers. i don't want them to find them in india or china. i want businesses to find those workers right here in the united states. the skills and training that employers are looking for begins with the men and women who educate our children. all of us can point to a teacher who's made a difference in our lives, and i know i can. so, i want this congress to give our schools the resources to keep good teachers on the job
and reward the best teachers. and in return, they also need to give schools the flexibility to stop just teaching to the test and replace teachers who aren't helping kids learn. that's something that we can do. so, making sure we've got the most skilled workers starts early. it starts with k-12, it starts before k-12, making sure every child is prepared. and when an american of any age wants to pursue any kind of higher education, whether it's that high school grad who's just trying to get that first, you know, couple of years of college education, or somebody like mike, you know, who's in the process of retraining. whether it's two years or four
years or more, we've got to make sure that education is affordable and available to everybody who wants to go. now, this congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling this july. that's pretty important. that's in our budget. we're saying to congress, now's not the time to make school more expensive for young people, and they can act right now to make that change. they also need to take the tuition tax credit that my administration put in the budget over these last few years, a tax credit that saves families thousands of dollars on tuition, and we need to make that permanent. it shouldn't be temporary. it should be permanent.
so, between the increases we've provided in pela grants, these tax credits, keeping interest rates low, all that's going to help, and millions of students across the country have benefited from that. but students and taxpayers can't just keep on subsidizing skyrocketing tuition. we're going to run out of money. so, that's why i've asked states and colleges to do their part to keep costs down. we're putting colleges and universities on notice -- you can't just keep on raising tuition and expect us to keep on coming up with more and more money, because tuition inflation's actually gone up even faster than health care. that's hard to do. so, what we're saying to states, colleges and universities, if you can't stop tuition from going up, then funding you get from taxpayers will go down, because higher education cannot be a luxury.
it is an economic imperative that every family in america should be able to afford. that's part of the american promise in the 21st century. so, that's what we need to do to get more americans ready for the jobs of the future, but what about the jobs that are open today? i talked about this in the state of the union. there are millions of jobs open right now and there are millions of people who are unemployed. the question is, how do we match up those workers to those jobs? what about the companies that are looking to hire right now? i hear from business leaders all the time who want to hire in the united states, but at the moment, they cannot always find workers with the right skills. growing industries in science and technology have twice as
many openings as we have workers who can do those jobs. think about that. at a time when millions of americans are looking for work, we shouldn't have any job openings out there. they should all be getting filled up. here in america, we've got the best workers and some of the fastest growing companies in the world. there's no reason we can't connect the two, and places like nova are proving that we know how to do it. this institution proves we know how to do it. so, let's say you are a single parent or a returning veteran or somebody who just wants a shot at a better paying job, you're a hard worker, you're a fast learner, you're motivated, you know there are companies looking to hire. you just need to figure out how to acquire some of the specific skills, the specialized skills that the companies need, and you need to figure that out as
quickly as possible, hopefully, without taking on tons of debt. everybody in america should be able to get those skills at a community college like nova. and companies looking to hire should be able to count on these schools to provide them with a steady stream of workers qualified to fill those specific jo jobs. that's why mike was sharing his story. as mike mentioned, he worked in the mortgage and real estate industry for ten years, but when business declined after 9/11, he decided to start over. so, he began selling building materials. then the bottom fell out of the housing market, so mike had to start all over again. he's got a knack for computers, so he figured he'd try a career in cyber security, where there is a lot of hiring. that is going to be a growth industry. luckily for mike, nova is home to a program called cyber watch.
so, he signed up. even though he's driving a limo on the side, he's still got to pay the bills, so he's working while going to school. but in december, mike earned two certificates, and by the way, finished with a 4.0, so we're proud of that. now he's working towards his associate's degree. and when he graduates, mike will have access to a network of over 40 companies and government agencies to help him find a job. so, we need more stories like mike's, and that's why my administration is helping community colleges redesign training programs so students can learn the skills that are most in demand, in industries like health care sciences and advanced manufacturing. and that's why we're making a
national commitment to train 2 million americans with skills they need to get a job right now or start their own business right now. and we've lined up more companies that want to help. we've already got model partnerships between major businesses, like seemens and community colleges in places like charlotte and orlando and louisville. they're already up and running. we know how they work, and that's why i've asked dr. biden and secretary solis to take a bus tour through several states, including ohio and kentucky and north carolina, to highlight businesses and community colleges that are working together to train workers for careers that are in demand right now. we've got to make these examples a model for the entire nation. and we also need to give more community colleges the resources
they need to become community career centers, places where folks can learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing. this should be an engine of job growth all across the country, these community colleges, and that's why we've got to support them. that's why it's such a big priority. so, an economy built to last demands that we keep doing everything we can to help students learn the skills that businesses are looking for. it means we have to keep strengthening american manufacturing, it means we've got to keep investing in american energy, we've got to double down on the clean energy that's creating jobs. but it also means we've got to renew the american values of
fair play and shared responsibility. you know, the budget that we're releasing today is a reflection of shared responsibility. it says that if we're serious about investing in our future and investing in community colleges and investing in new energy technology, investing in basic research, well, we've got to pay for it, and that means we've got to make some choices. right now, we're scheduled to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was intended to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of americans. we've already spent about that much. now we're scheduled to spend another trillion. keep in mind, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle class
households. you've heard me say it, warren buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. that's not fair. it doesn't make sense at a time when we've got to pull together to get the country moving. i don't need a tax break. we don't need to be providing additional tax cuts for folks who are doing really, really, really well. do we want to keep these tax cuts for wealthiest americans or do we want to keep investing in everything else -- education, clean energy, a strong military, care for our veterans? we can't do both. we can't afford it. some people go around, they say, well, the president's engaging in class warfare. that's not class warfare, that's common sense! that's common sense.
asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary when it comes to his tax rate, that's just common sense, because warren buffett's doing fine, i'm doing fine, we don't need the tax breaks. you need them. you're the ones who see your wages stall, you're the one whose costs of everything from college to groceries has gone up, you're the ones who deserve a break. and we don't begrudge success in america. we aspire to it. everybody here -- i want everybody here to go out there and do great. i want you to make loads of money, if you can. that's wonderful. and we expect people to earn it, study hard, work hard for it. so, we don't envy the wealthy, but we do expect everybody to do
their fair share so that everybody has opportunity, not just some. and given where our deficit is, it's just a matter of math that folks like me are going to have to do a little bit more, because americans understand, if i get a tax break i don't need and the country can't afford, then one of two things are going to happen. either that means we have to add to our deficit, or it means you've got to pay for it. it means the seniors have got to pay for it, in terms of, suddenly, their medicare benefits are costing more. it means a student suddenly sees their interest rates go up higher at a time when they can't afford it. it means a family that's struggling to get by is having to do more because i'm doing less. that's not right. that's not who we are. each of us is here only because somebody somewhere felt a responsibility to each other and
to our country's future, and that's why they made investments in places like nova. here in america, the story has never been about what we can do just by ourselves, it's about what we can do together. it's about believing in our future and the future of our country. you believe in that future. that's why you're working hard. that's why you're putting in long hours. that's why mike's doing what he's doing. some of you are balancing a job at the same time as you're going to school. you're scrimping and scratching to make sure that you can pay tuition here. you know that doing big things isn't easy, but you haven't given up. that's the spirit we've got to have right now. we don't give up in this country. we look out for each other, we pull together, we work hard, we reach for new opportunities, we pull each other up. that's who we are. and if we work together in common purpose, we will build an
economy that lasts and remind people around the world why america's the greatest country on earth. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. glod ble god bless the united states of america. >> president obama wrapping up his remarks at nova community college talking about his budget going on to congress. jared, i want your reaction to the speech. the message not so much about the deficit, but investment in the future. the president saying, you know what, you've got to hitch your wagon to me because i care about getting you educated, i care about getting you out in the workforce, i care about getting you tax breaks. is this the message that's going to resonate with the political climate that we're in right now? >> i think it is. i mean, i thought he really leaned in to that, thomas, just the way you're saying. he started with opportunity, he ended with opportunity, he stuck with that theme in the middle. he did mention deficits a couple of times, and actually, the budget, if you look at the numbers, has really quite significant deficit reduction. but clearly, that's not so much the message he was conveying.
it was really about opportunity, taking the economic recovery and trying to further give it a little boost. >> jared bernstein, great to have you here this morning. we want to get more analysis about the president's plan for the nation's fiscal future with congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. she's chair of the dnc as well as a member of the house budget committee. congresswoman, it's nice to see you this morning, as i know you were listening to the president there speaking at this community college in northern virginia. >> yes. >> is the president's budget, this proposal, purely a political message in an election year? i mean, there's part of it which is, you know, policy that he wants to see move forward, but a lot of this seems to be things that may never happen, but it is a strong message to a young group of voters that he's basically saying hitch your wagon to me, i care about your future. >> no, not at all, thomas. the budget that the president presents to the united states and submits to congress is truly an expression of our nation's values, our national values. so, president obama in his budget for this fiscal year is
laying out his vision for the direction that this country should go, an investment of historic proportions in education, making sure that while we go through improvements in our economy and our fight to create jobs, that we ensure that, really, tens of thousands, if not more americans who have lost their jobs and who have left industries to which they really can't return because the economy has evolved, have an opportunity to go to community college and that we create community college career centers so that the investments that we make there can help retrain these workers and allow them to move on to the next stage of their career path and also make college more affordable and accessible to all americans, because clearly, the key to our success in the future economically is giving everyone in america an opportunity for a higher education. >> dnc chair debbie wasserman schultz. congresswoman, good to see you this morning. thanks for your time.
>> thank you, thomas. you, too. >> well, so, we're talking about what's taking place in presidential -- on the politics of the presidency, talking about the proposal that's now moving on to congress. we'll find out if congress will be voting on that. we'll talk about that, plus the big breaking news over the weekend, the death of whitney houston. this such a troubled life. we've lost such a valuable and loved performer. but what was one of the instances, the final one on one interview that shaun robinson had, her observances about that coming up right here on msnbc. ♪ i am you
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she won all four categories, including record and song of the year. adele thanked her producers, her mom and her doctor who repaired her vocal cords last year. while accepting the award, she told the audience why the record is so special and even gave us a sign that she's just like everybody else. >> this record is inspired by something that is really normal and everyone's been through it. it's just a rubbish relations p relationship. and it's gone on to do things that i can't tell you, like, how i feel about it. it's been the most life-changing year, and i want to thank my record companies, columbia records and expel records and nick, who signed me. he's in the uk, oh a bit of snot -- >> while the night may have belonged to adele, the event paid tribute to whitney houston, whose death was never far from the minds of presenters and performers. jennifer hudson gave an
emotional performance while singing one of houston's greatest hits. ♪ bittersweet memories, that is all i'm taking with me ♪ >> joining me live from los angeles is nbc's kristen dahlgren with more on this. so, kristen, the evening was certainly one where people couldn't get whitney off their minds, but the evening went on, the music went on. >> yeah, it did, thomas. and friends say that that's the way whitney houston would have wanted it, to have the show go on. the grammy weekend, we're told, was really her favorite weekend of the year. she loved going to that clive davis party that she was expected at this year. and while her death cast a shadow over the grammys, the stars really made an effort to celebrate her life rather than mourn her death. ll cool j started the evening with a prayer. you saw everybody in the audience bowing their heads. and then the individual stars like bruno mars, alicia keys,
errihanna and stevie wonder all honored her in some way on stage, and then of course, that moving tribute by jennifer hudson. jennifer hudson was awarded her first grammy by whitney houston. she always saw the star as her idol. and so, it really was a moving moment. a lot of people in the audience with tears there, thomas. >> nbc's kristen dahlgren in los angeles. kristen, nice to see you this morning. thank you. well, whitney houston did her last one-on-one interview back in november. she sat down it talk about her upcoming remake of the movie "sparkle." houston stars as the mom of jordin sparks, who was not originally part of that project. originally it was supposed to be sing yeer aliah, whose own deat brought a halt to the movie. >> unfortunately, it just didn't go that way. i put it down. i said my sparkle is going to a better place, and we just left it alone. >> sony studios still plans to
release "sparkle," houston's final movie, coming out in august. joining me now from california is shaun robinson from "access hollywo hollywood," who did the last solo interview with whitney houston back in november to talk about her upcoming feature film "sparkle" and "los angeles times" reporter derek kennedy, who saw houston on thursday at the beverly hilton and remembers erratic behavior. it's nice to see both of you this morning as we talk about the reflections of whitney houston. and garrick, i want to start with you, because you saw whitney on thursday at the beverly hilton as everyone was preparing for this big grammy weekend. what are your observations? what do you remember about seeing the star that thursday? >> you know, from the initial shock of seeing, you know, whitney there to coach, brandi and monica -- you know, there's so many different things. she didn't have to be there at all. i don't think that's something people said. she was there because she really loves those two girls and they love her, and they've been, you know, obviously very vocal about
her as kind of a source of inspiration. but it was very apparent very quickly that something was off. you know, her clothes disheveled, you know, she was talking, you know, very erratically, and there was always kind of these huge gestures, and you know, my first glimpse of her outside of seeing her work with brandi and monica, is she actually asked me a question in the lobby, and she was just wandering around aimlessly, you know, asking if, you know, the rehearsal was done, you know, then she went back inside, and it's just, you know, there's still that shock of seeing her then, and you know, she's not here anymore. but it just is kind of weird to just kind of have been there that thursday and seen, kind of, you know, the firsthand glimpse of all these rumors you heard over the years? you know, i had never seen her before. and so, it was kind of -- that was the first time to see it, and you saw it in person and you saw, you know, this behavior, and you know, it just is definitely still very surreal. >> garrick, when you're talking
about the erratic behavior, do you mean that it's your estimation that she was either intoxicated or medicated as she was walking around the hotel that day? >> well, you know, the second close proximity interaction i had with her, when she came back in, you could smell the stench of liquor. you could also smell cigarettes. i don't know anything else, anything other than that would be speculation. you know, just from what i reported in my story, thursday after her passing was, that was an observation that a couple of us had made. you know, yes, there was whispers, could it have been more? but again, only a few of us, we just smelled those two things, you know. >> shaun, you were the last person to do a sit-down interview with whitney houston to talk about the feature film "sparkle." there's been talk over the years, reporting over the years about whitney making a full comeback, people hoping that whitney would make a full comeback after rumors and the reality show that gave a lot of people a look inside a chaotic life and her marriage to bobby brown. what are your observations from
that interview just 13 weeks ago to what we know today? >> well, if you had told me at that moment that i was interviewing her that i was talking to the whitney houston that would be dead in 13 weeks, i never would have believed you. she looked like she was really -- this was really a comeback. like, she was on the top of her game. she looked healthy, she had gained weight, she was smiling, she was laughing. i had my parents with me. she was chitchatting with them. very nice and very happy to be given this opportunity to be in this movie. she was a mentor to jordan sparks, who plays her daughter in the remake of "sparkle." everyone on the set was asking her for advice and just so happy that she was there. and as you said, we have heard about comebacks of whitney houston before, and it never really seemed like she was really coming back until this time when i was sitting face to face with her for some half an hour and talking to her about her life and her career and how
thankful she was to be able to give this gift again to her fans, and it's just -- it's really surreal. >> shaun, there was one really striking part of your interview where you complimented whitney and you told her that she was looking great. >> you look fantastic. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> you look absolutely amazing. >> thanks. >> and you feel that, too, don't you? >> i do. >> yeah. >> i'm older. i'm matured. >> but you still look good. >> thank you. but that doesn't mean -- that has nothing to do with me feeling -- not old, i'm older, i've matured, you know what i'm saying? >> yes. >> and looking forward to the years to come. >> she said she reached this new maturity. what do you think she meant by that, especially at this point in her career, where she was getting back in the movie business? >> well, yes, you really wonder now. because when she said that to me, i took it as that she was now in a place where she was in
control of herself and in control of her life, and she was this mother figure to jordan sparks on the set because she was playing her mother on the set in the set, in the movie and she knew that she really had a responsibility. and she was saying that she had just matured so much and she was taking what she had learn friday her experiences as a mother with her daughter, bobby, and chris s tina and using them in this roll and it still lives me and everyone else speechless that the woman i saw there sitting and talking to is no longer with us. it's really stunning. >> we talk about the maturity and a lot of people will look at the life of whitney houston and think of areas of personal responsibility where she could have shored things up but it goes to getting people thinking about the company she was with
over the years. did she have a proper support system? >> it's interesting , as i said my parents came to the set and she talked to them and remarked how close she was to her own parents. you would hope that everyone around her, at this point in her life, would be the type of support that she needed to get through any troubles that she was having. we don't know who was definitely in her inner circle, we know she would keep company with to a point, but the people in you are inner circle, i don't know who those people are. it's very, very sad to see that this is the outcome after so many times of trying to rebound finally having that opportunity. >> thank you both for joining me this morning. i appreciate it. >> we will be right back after this. i want to be a volunteer firefighter.
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welcome back, everyone, developing now the judge over e overseeing the case of jerry sandusky said he can see most of his grandchildren while awaiting trial, there are conditions, all visits must be supervised by the children's parents and sandusky will not be able to see the three grandchildren that are the subject of custody litigation. tim curly asking for perjury charges to be dismissed for him on the case. that will do it for me, i'll see you back here tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern. >> it's a blue print to protect the middle class we will talk about the budget the president
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from budgets to birth control, everything you always wanted to know about election year games but were too afraid to ask, it's monday, february 13th and this is "now" joining me today is mark tapscott, brown university's wendy shillor and columnist for the hill. president obama just unveiled his budget proposal in the last